Fire season could come early this year

MEDFORD, Ore.— Many people are enjoying the dry conditions and warm temperatures but it could be problematic when it comes to fire season.

According to Brian Ballou, PIO for Oregon Department of Forestry, they’re looking at the possibility of an early fire season.

“Typically we don’t start fire season until June the 1st, however, we’re leaving the door open a bit with this spring being really warm and dry, fire season could start a little earlier,” Ballou said.

According to, drought conditions in Southern Oregon are severe.

Medford’s average rainfall for this time of the year is typically around 6.7 inches, but right now, it is at 4.8 inches.

Klamath Falls is also below average by almost three inches.

“We’re definitely keeping aware that we could start picking up significant fires much earlier than normal,” Ballou said.

According to Rural Metro Fire, Chief Austin Prince says they’ve been called out to multiple human-caused fires. He says right now, firefighters are still able to keep a handle on the fires. But that could all change.

“Right now we’re still a little bit early, and we’re catching these fires before they get too big,” Prince said. “But we don’t know that that will stay that way for the entire springtime at least.”

The National Interagency Fire Center is predicting Southern Oregon and Northern California will be in major fire danger in July.

“It looks like it could be significantly drier going out of June,” Ballou said. “Usually we hope we’ll get at least a half-inch of rain in June but it looks like that probably won’t occur.”

Prince says, given the current climate of our state and our country, now, more than ever, it’s important that people prevent human-caused fires.

“A lot of places that had stocked up to give out masks for the general public to protect them and the respiratory system from that smoke is not likely to be available anymore,” Prince said.

The Oregon Department of Forestry has teamed up with multiple state agencies to urge Oregonians to stop open burning. However, if you need to open burn, here are some ways to do so safely:

  • Make sure you have a bucket of water near you at all times
  • Keep a cellphone with you in case you need to call 911
  • Be vigilant.
  • Have a shovel.
  • Don’t leave your pile unattended.
  • Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before walking away.

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